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Extreme Heat And Wildfire Smoke Expected Labor Day Weekend

The Valley Air District urges Valley and Foothill residents to protect their health and reduce their energy use

FRESNO — With the extreme heat facing the Valley and Foothills, the Valley Air District encourages residents to take action to keep cool, check on their family and neighbors, monitor air quality levels, and reduce strain on the energy grid wherever possible. The record-breaking heat over the coming days could intensify ongoing wildfires, increase the potential for new wildfires to begin, and deteriorating air quality conditions throughout the Valley.

Valley residents are urged to protect their health during the coming days by staying indoors when possible, using central air conditioning to stay cool during the peak temperatures of the day, seeking local cooling centers, and using in-home air filtration devices to reduce exposure to wildfire smoke when needed.

Here are three things you can do in the coming days:

  • Help others: Check on your neighbors, particularly those who are elderly or mobility-challenged, and remind them to hydrate. Safety tips can be found here.
  • Monitor Energy Use: Please reduce your electricity use. Electricity demand spikes during heatwaves by turning up thermostats and turning off appliances that are not in use. Pre-cool your home and make sure your devices are charged before 4 p.m.
  • Avoid Outdoor Activity: Stay indoors in cool temperatures. Air quality information is available at myRAAN.com.  Extreme heat coupled with ongoing wildfires can contribute to unhealthy air quality.

Under these extreme conditions, wildfire smoke could drive air quality up to unhealthy levels. Poor air quality can trigger asthma attacks, aggravate chronic bronchitis, and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Individuals with heart or lung disease should follow their doctors’ advice for dealing with episodes of PM exposure. Those with existing respiratory conditions, including COVID-19, young children, and the elderly, are especially susceptible to the health effects of this form of pollution.

Residents can use the District’s Real-time Air Advisory Network (RAAN) to track air quality at Valley locations by visiting myRAAN.com or through the EPA AirNow tool. In addition, anyone can follow air quality conditions by downloading the free “Valley Air” app on their mobile device.  For details on current and past wildfires affecting the Valley and resources to protect yourself from exposure to wildfire smoke, visit the District’s Wildfire Information page at www.valleyair.org/wildfires.

For more information, visit www.valleyair.org or call a District office in Fresno (559-230-6000), Modesto (209-557-6400), or Bakersfield (661-392-5500). District Outreach and Communications personnel are also available for media interviews via Zoom or by phone.

The Valley Air District covers eight counties including San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and San Joaquin Valley air basin portions of Kern. For additional information about the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, visit www.valleyair.org or call 559-230-6000.

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